Here's how to avoid giving your family salmonella this Thanksgiving
It's just about that time of year when turkeys fly off grocery store shelves as families prepare for their Thanksgiving feasts.
While gearing up for the fall holiday, however, the BC Centre for Disease Control is offering tips for how to keep salmonella off the menu.
In Canada right now, the federal government says there's actually an outbreak of salmonella. Over 100 illnesses are under investigation across the country and are believed to be linked to raw turkey and raw chicken. More than 20 of those cases are from B.C.
"Not properly cooking poultry increases the risk of illness for those who handle or eat it," said Marsha Taylor, epidemiologist with the BCCDC in a news release.
"Salmonellosis is serious and it can ruin any Thanksgiving dinner, so remember to fully cook your turkey dinner and use a meat thermometer to ensure it is safe to eat."
BCCDC says turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74 C or hotter. Temperatures should be taken with a meat thermometer in the turkey's breast or inner thigh.
"It is important to remember raw juices from poultry can easily spread to surfaces from the sink if the meat is rinsed," said Lorraine McIntyre, food safety specialist with the BCCDC.
"Instead of rinsing, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and then discard the towels into the compost to help prevent cross contamination."
BCCDC also recommends cooks wash their hands frequently and wash down surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food. It's also important to keep raw meat separate from other foods in the fridge and to ensure raw juices don't drip onto other foods.
Those who choose to brine their turkey should make sure the brine is cold before immersing it in the water and to keep in the brine and turkey in the fridge until it's time to cook.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. They usually last four to seven days.